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MDR, EDR, SOC, XDR… The cybersecurity industry has no shortage of acronyms. This endless stream of alphabet soup can cause a lot of confusion for industry newcomers and veterans alike. One of the more popular questions we see is, what’s the difference between MDR and SOC (or SOC-as-a-service)?

In this post, we’ll help clear up some misunderstandings between MDR vs. SOC, so you can better understand what each is and how they relate (not compare).

What is MDR?

MDR stands for Managed Detection and Response. It is an end-to-end solution that encompasses people, process, and technology to deliver security outcomes. The objective is to identify and respond to active cyber threats and exposures, conducting in-depth investigations to enable rapid elimination and/or containment. The really impressive part is this is an endless process for MDR; it never stops, running 24/7/365.

Here’s a quick run-through of the MDR process:

  1. Raw data is collected.
  2. Observations and alerts are created.
  3. Threats are analyzed.
  4. True positives are identified and escalated as action-oriented incidents coupled with key recommendations.
  5. Threat is eliminated.

What is SOC?

SOC stands for Security Operations Center. A SOC is a required component of a complete MDR solution. The SOC is the dedicated security team that monitors for and assesses these threats and exposures, constantly analyzing data, hunting to identify and confirm these threats. These are the experts that are also providing the guidance and recommendations that eliminate the threat and harden your security posture.

How do SOC and MDR Relate?

Every business can benefit from an MDR solution to manage their security outcomes. A true MDR solution will have a SOC that is enabled with powerful threat intelligence and tooling to:

  • Detect and defend against ransomware attacks
  • Actively monitor cloud activity, applications, and behavior
  • Provide visibility into exposures, vulnerabilities, and risky configurations
  • Support compliance with cybersecurity governance and mandates

An MDR solution consistently provides timely, security-relevant, posture-hardening guidance and recommendations, all with an end objective of making you more secure in a measurable way.

A Look into Alert Logic

When the workload of an in-house SOC becomes unmanageable, turn to MDR for help. Alert Logic enables companies to divert risk, but we also divert time and cost away from your own overwhelmed team.

Watch our demo on MDR and SOC-as-a-service and discover how Alert Logic can help you.

Tom Gorup
About the Author
Tom Gorup
Tom Gorup is Vice President of Security and Support Operations at Alert Logic and leads Alert Logic's global Security Operations Centers. Prior to joining Alert Logic, Tom served as co-founder and Director of Security Operations for Rook Security where he oversaw its Managed Detection and Response services and developed proprietary security operations management technologies for organizations ranging from fast-growing startups to Fortune 100 companies. Tom has been quoted in numerous industry journals and media outlets including The New York Times, Forbes, CNBC, Bloomberg, and Dark Reading. He has also been a featured speaker at (ISC)².

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